Workplace Safety Law extension raises political tensions

2024.02.02 13:25:01 | 2024.02.02 15:30:27

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]



South Korean is seeing a heated debate among rival parties over a proposed bill that looks to grant companies with small workforces an extended grace period of up to two years before they face penalties for violating workplace safety laws.

On Thursday, the ruling People Power Party (PPP) made a concession that it would support the establishment of a state agency responsible for workplace safety within two years. This was a condition that proposed earlier by the opposition Democratic Party (DP) in exchange for a two-year extension of the grace period for violations of the Serious Accidents Punishment Act from companies with fewer than 50 employees.

But the PPP’s offer was met with an unexpected rejection from the DP, a strong proponent of having a government agency that can oversee compliance with the law’s workplace safety regulations.

The DP should have accepted the offer, especially considering the increased challenges faced by small businesses because the application of the workplace safety rule to companies with fewer than 50 employees was recently broadened.

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]



[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]



Instead, the opposition party sided with labor advocacy groups, which have demanded universal penalties for violations regardless of the size of the workforce. The Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU), one of the major trade unions, denounced the ruling camp’s attempts for the two-year extension to the grace period at a press conference on Thusday.

While some might say the PPP’s offer to establish the agency in two years instead of doing so as soon as possible might not be a big concession, it was a reasonable approach. Establishing a well-functioning organization requires enough time, as well as cooperation between the government and both the ruling and opposition parties.

Hasty decisions can lead to an ineffective agency that creates undue hardship for both businesses and workers.

By Editorial Team

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